Navigating the Dental Patient Journey through Covid-19
In my profession, we are all learning a new way to practice dentistry that provides safety and security. This has become the number one priority for dentists as we go about re-opening our practices. With so much uncertainty around the Covid-19 virus, it is imperative that dental practices deliver on an extremely well-planned environment for our patients.
What do I mean by that? Many governmental and local agencies have given us guidelines that should be implemented to protect both patients and staff. In order to help you assess whether your dentist is following these guidelines for safety, below is a list of protocols that should be checked to ensure that you are well taken care of during your next visit. Pay attention to these steps and make sure your dentist is engaging in these measures.
Are you asked important screening questions before you arrive for your appointment, and again when you arrive at your appointment? Is your temperature being taken when you arrive? Are you told to wait outside until it is safe to enter to help maintain social distancing? Are you required to wear a mask upon entering the office?
Is the greeting staff wearing protective gear? Are there plastic barriers between front office staff and patients to lessen aerosol contact?
When you are in the dental chair, is there an air purifier nearby that is capable of recirculating 100% of the office air within a 15-minute period? (With the aerosol generated during dental procedures, this is a crucial piece of equipment to have.)
Doctors and clinical staff should wear gowns or scrubs, gloves, KN95 or N95 masks and surgical masks at all times, and add a face shield over the masks while operating the handpiece drill. Hand-washing at the beginning and end of each appointment is also essential.
These are all necessary precautions to ensure your safety and hopefully create a sense of well-being so that you are not fearful of continuing your dental care, which is so very important!
Hoping all of you stay safe and well!